On the 16th of March two weeks of spring vacation provide the opportunity to travel to exciting places and do things you’ve never done before. A perfect destination for this spring break is Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States!
Here’s some of the things on offer in Washington, D.C., which is made more appealing as a destination by the fact that this east-coastal city is easily accessible from a lot of other places in America and many other travel options are open to you if you pick D.C. as your travel spot this year.
THINGS TO DO
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (and the various Smithsonian Museums)
The museum has thousands of incredible pieces on display, including a lunar rock open for the public to touch, as well as Charles Lindeburgh’s iconic plane, the Spirit of St. Louis. Available daily are film showings in the planetarium, showing some original footage, first taken in space. The museum offers an interesting day out for both adults and children of any age, with exhibitions running all year round – some of which include a presentation on the use of aviation during the Cold War. The museum was voted the most popular of the Smithsonian museums, but be sure to check out the others—among them Natural History and American History. And best yet, all of the Smithsonians are free, so go for a nice day of museum hopping! Also of interest is the National Portrait Gallery, which has free admissions too.
This museum showcases news and journalism throughout the years, and how major events have been displayed through the media. Among the many exhibitions are pieces of the World Trade Center and the Berlin Wall. Check out various interactive exhibits as well, such as the NBC Newsroom.
For a look at the rich culture and history of America’s indigenous people, stop by this fascinating museum. On display are authentic tools and weapons, art and clothing, as well as plenty of information about the numerous tribes.
A definite highlight of the DC museums. You’ll be able to see a large collection of shoes taken from the prisoners upon entry into the camps, as well as a cattle car used to transport prisoners. This is one of the most sobering and powerful museums in the city.
These are all available for public viewing with the purchase of tickets in advance. Definitely try to get your hands on some, this would be the highlight of your trip!
The Jefferson, Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Vietnam War…to name a few. The memorials are an integral part of DC and are not to be missed. Go up to the top of the Washington Monument for an unparalleled view of the city and stroll on the Mall afterwards!
A little exploring around the Van Ness neighbourhood will uncover the diplomatic heart of DC, with most of the embassies being located in close proximity to one another. You can walk around and see many different flags and nationalities represented.
Explore these historic neighbourhoods for great shopping and food! Stroll around the old townhouses in Georgetown and shop a bit on M Street, and have lunch at a café on the circle at Dupont.
While in America, going to a ball game is essential. Get some peanuts, a hot dog, and a foam finger and you’re pretty much set for the full experience.
PLACES TO EAT
Being a capital city, DC is a diverse hub of culinary options. With nearly every ethnicity from Russian to Jamaican represented in food, you’ll be spoiled for choice! There are also plenty of American favourites and classic DC establishments to explore.
A DC Legend. Attended by various celebrities over the years, including Barack Obama, Mary J Blige and George Bush Ben’s is situated on 1213 U Street. It was opened in 1958 by newlyweds Ben and Virginia Ali, and true to their loyal customers’ demands to ‘never change the place’, all counters and stools are the originals. Many original recipes are also still available such as Ben’s famous all meat chili dog, part of a menu which includes various chilli dishes from chili burgers to chili con carne. A must on your trip to DC.
Situated on Capitol Hill, Ted’s Bulletin serve breakfast all day, serving a selection of American favourites, such as Chicken and biscuits, corned beef hash, and of course a variety of delicious shakes. Ted grew up during the Great Depression and developed a passion for cooking and food when he took on the reputation as the ‘neighbourhood chef’, with his innovative dishes that made use of the limited ingredients. Ted’s Bulletin was opened in his honour and memory.
The Diner is placed in the centre of Adams Morgan, which is a hip neighbourhood home to a number of interesting shops. The Diner applies a modern twist to an American classic. They too serve breakfast all day and have a large daily selection of different pies and ice cream sundaes.
The trademark of this pie place is a pie floating above a skull and cross bones, and they’ll serve you probably the largest slices of pie you’ll ever see in your life. You can have it heated up and paired with ice-cream, and open to you are pies savoury and sweet, as well as quiches. On top of their classics such as Pumpkin and Pecan they also offer a range of signature pies, like the infamous Baltimore Bomb and Pancake Batter Pies.
Here, you can buy savoury waffle sandwiches as well as some original waffle recipes, like strawberry cheesecake waffles and tiramisu waffles. Wicked waffle is only a short walk from the Whitehouse and can definitely provide you with the energy you’ll need for a walk around the presidential home.
Famous as being the favourite restaurant of DC ice hockey team player, Alex Ovechkin, of the Capitals, Mari Vanna is a perfect exemption of DC’s diverse range of ethnic restaurants. This restaurant offers authentic Russian cuisine and is run by Russians.
Tico (Mexican/Spanish, tapas style)
Tico is an edgy Spanish restaurant, with lots of small plates such as crispy manchego cheese, and crab tostadas. They also have a variety of different taco dishes, and if you are of age you can sample any one of their 88 imported tequilas.
With a menu dedicated mainly to their renowned Ramen dishes, Daikaya not only serve delicious Ramen, solely imported from Japan, but also offer ways to spice up the classic dish by adding toppings such as Seaweed, butter and a hard boiled egg.
Less description is required for these legendary American chains. You’ve probably heard Americans discussing their love of Chipotle, and your trip to DC is your opportunity to experience the magic for yourself. It’s basically fast, casual Mexican food. Shake Shack is your quintessential, American fast food dive which offers a wide range of shakes and burgers.
DC is also accessible by train and bus to other east coast cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, and Boston. Excursions to see some natural beauty are possible as well, such as to the Chesapeake Bay, hiking and camping areas, and eastern shore beaches.
Images sourced from Pinterest